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flagAuctioneers sell nearly every type of legally transferable personal property at auction. However, it seems some auctioneers say either you can’t or you shouldn’t sell bibles or flags at auction.

Why not? It appears these views are founded in the history of “we’ve always [not] done it that way,” rather than actually looking at the laws regarding these items.

Of course, could an auctioneer choose not to sell a bible at auction? Could he refuse to sell a flag? Sure, and that’s his choice.

Auctioneers could choose to not sell all types of personal property — books, coins, handheld calculators, political buttons, rocks … but that doesn’t mean an auctioneer who does is a bad person, or that such activity is illegal.

Businesses must decide on their own about what they sell. As an example, CVS/pharmacy stopped selling cigarettes and all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide on October 1, 2014 despite those products being legal to sell.

How do bibles and flags enter the marketplace? Once manufactured, generally they are sold to wholesalers, who in turn sell them to retailers. In other words, by the time a bible or flag is in an auction, it has likely already been bought and sold several times.

For auctioneers that feel bibles and flags should not be sold, this decision must be made in concert with their client’s wishes. For instance, a client consigning a bible or flag for auction would rightly have the expectation that such would be sold, rather than donated or otherwise not sold.

Bibles and flags at auction? The are indeed sold at many auctions, and people do buy them at auction.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.